THIS AIN’T YOUR DADDY’S LAWN GNOME
WORDS: Mark Masker
PHOTO: Scott Winters
If you think your ethnic stereotype is bad, try being a leprechaun. Everyone thinks you’re some jolly gnome type, dressed like some psychedelic green Quaker, with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. And, if some jackass manages to snatch you while you’re minding your own business, you’re supposed to pull three wishes out of your ass if you want to be set free. Hell, their role model is a sellout pimping cereal for The Man on TV. Judging by the looks of Steve Nolet’s evil leprechaun here, though, extorting wishes from it would probably net you a middle finger, a kick in the nuts, and maybe a stolen girlfriend — if you’re lucky. That’s because his leprechaun is a mean-looking 2004 Harley Road Glide.
The journey that led to the Evil Leprechaun started 12 years back when Steve bought his first ride — a 1200 Sportster. He not only cut his riding teeth on that bike, he also did some custom work to it. Two years later, he graduated to an ’89 Springer Softail. As his riding grew more ambitious, so did his customization. This time around, he went to the trouble of raking the frontend and lowering it on his own, as well as swapping in custom-painted sheetmetal. At this point, getting a bagger was the last thing he wanted to do. They were grandpa bikes, after all.
We all know that stereotype died six or seven years ago. The more Steve looked at them, though, the more his thinking started to change. He was pretty open-minded and seeing more and more custom touring Harleys brought him into the ranks of the bagger faithful. Eventually, he ordered the FLTRI that evolved into the Evil Leprechaun — only in crimson red.
Modification started light. In the first year all he did was add in a low windshield and a pipe swap. Come year two, Steve turned up the heat on the changes by tearing it apart and switching the paint to Kandy Orange with flames.
Steve didn’t fall on changes round three, though. It fell on him. In 2008 on the way home from work he had a little fender bender. Since the bike was going to need surgery anyway, he threw the insurance money into rebuilding it stronger, faster than it was before. “I started to redo the whole bike by purchasing some parts from Ebay and went to work,” Steve says.
Off came the stock bags and rear fender. On went stretched ones. While Steve as at it, he added apes, then finished off the new incarnation with a key lime paintjob and had a friend do some sick airbrushed skulls.
During all this Steve was introduced to Matt from Audiowerks Custom Cycles from a friend at work. Matt owns a car audio store and got into the bike scene a couple of years ago because he has a lot of friends who wanted radios put on their bikes. Now Matt has a thriving business where he is producing some sick baggers with what Steve thinks is the best audio out there.
The two guys got to talking about paintjobs. Steve told Matt if he needed any help with painting bikes, he’d love to help out. Not only has the work turned into a great friendship, Matt also has a 2004 Road Glide to boot. Unlike Steve’s, however, Matt’s had a 26-inch front wheel. That was enough to send Steve back to the drawing board last fall.
Matt let him use the shop to get the job done. It began with him cutting, then raking, the neck with the JYC Customs neck and HHI tree kit. Steve purchased an SMT 26-inch front wheel and rotor for the centerpiece. “I also decided to paint the neck of the bike along with my new bars,” Steve tells us. “Once that was done we stood back and looked at it only to realize the paint on the neck and bars did not match the paint on the rest of the bike.” He was, um, less than pleased by that.
In talking with the guy who originally mixed Steve’s paint, they discovered that the formula from the first batch of paint was off from the newer batch of the same color. The new paint was more vibrant than the original. Since Steve needed to repaint the entire bike again anyway, he chose to get rid of the skulls in favor of a zombie theme. That is, until he came across a picture of an evil leprechaun. Seeing as how the bike was green, he’s got a little Irish in his blood, and, well, leprechauns need a new role model, the idea was a natural. Steve says, “I contacted my friend Darrell Sargent, a.k.a. The Kandyman, who owns Kandyman Kustom Paint; his airbrush artist, John Huff, did the incredible job on the leprechaun.”
Beyond that, Matt taught Steve not to be cheap out when going big on a project. He sacrificed a lot of cash to the bagger gods, but in the end, Evil Leprechaun turned into one badass sumbitch. Just check out the audio. Matt and Steve put in a Kenwood Deck, Arc Audio Amps, Hertz 6½-inch speakers in front, and 6X9-inch speakers in the Cycle Sound saddlebag lids. Not to mention the FBI chin spoiler with its custom LEDs.
If you see Evil Leprechaun on the street, do not try to apprehend it. You may go in thinking you’re going to get gold, wishes, or marshmallow cereal, but you’re more likely to leave with a wedgie and a limp.